Dream of the Dragon

Tag: dark energy

Theoretical dreams

by Justin

After an over-long hiatus from blogging and my particular brand of unsubstantiated opinion slinging, I’ve decided to bring this beast back into action.

The gap in writing was filled with local reporting in Chicago and the (attempted) cultivation of “hard news” skills. This involves direct acquisition of information, attribution of anything resembling fact or opinion, and the precise excision of bias. Bias was my angle on this blog in the past and reckless opinion was my style. The reporting of my first quarter in grad school built some new fundamental skills while personal style starved on the sidelines. C’est la guerre.

But now I’m a full time science reporter (student, mostly), covering theoretical physics during most of the week. This is too dreamy. This is the stuff of atom-smashing and event horizons, of antimatter and dark energy. And Chicagoland hosts some of the world’s preeminent experts in these fields. For a few more months at least, the second most powerful particle accelerator in the world, Fermilab’s Tevatron, will operate in Batavia, Ill. – that’s right around the corner. Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Energy

by Justin

As I am utterly unequipped to articulate such grand awesomeness any better than Lisa Grossman over at the Wired blog, I’ll stick to her version of last week’s news:

Our view of dark energy, the mysterious force that is shoving the universe apart, just got a little clearer. By observing the way large clumps of mass distort their local space-time into enormous cosmological lenses, astronomers have zoomed in on a quantity that describes how dark energy works.

The universe’s composition breaks down roughly as follows: traditional atomic matter = 4%; dark matter = 24%; dark energy = 72%. Dark matter is observable because of its gravitational effects on the 4% with which we’re well acquainted. The majority of the universe, however, is composed of a mysterious energy that astronomers and physicists believe must be responsible for our ever-expanding (at an ever-accelerating rate) cosmos.

Forgive the sheen of my ignorance on this subject – I’ll do my best to keep things accurate. The catch with dark energy is that it seems to drive the universe outward, but without the observable particles of other fields (i.e. electromagnetic and photons). And it’s doing it at a faster and faster rate.

Before I touch on the Wired article and the new study, here’s a slice of weirdness that is worth exploring if you’ve got the time and inclination to have your brain rocked: Read the rest of this entry »